Kerala cuisine amazes celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay

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Photo: Gordon Ramsay website
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New Delhi: Gordon Ramsay will soon be touring India and the celebrity chef says the highlight of his visits so far has been Kerala.

Describing it as the land of the spice and fragrance he says, ''I didn't think vegetarian cuisine could be that good in an ashram cooking with 55-60 women, preparing the most amazing meals."

"The good news is I'm coming back to India, and I can't wait," Ramsay added.

The British chef-restaurateur, who has earlier been to the country on culinary adventures, said his love for the Indian subcontinental cuisine dates back to his childhood.

"Back in 2004 I started my journey from visiting Cambodia, the most amazing Southeastern Asian islands, Vietnam, and then spending three months in India from north to south, and a week in an ashram in Kerala, and understanding how to perfect vegetarian cuisine.

"We lived in a council house in the middle of Birmingham in the Midlands growing up and my parents' landlord was from Pakistan, and so I fell in love with not just the Indian/Pakistani cuisine then, so my ambition was always to travel to India to understand.

"From the north to the south, even 50 km from the Burmese border, Nagaland, again completely off-pieced and understanding what it was like with those communities in the depth of that jungle, and cooking incredible food," Ramsay said in a select roundtable interaction from Los Angeles over phone.

The world-renowned chef will feature in summer culinary adventure series "Gordon Ramsay: Uncharted", which premieres on July 29 at 10 pm, on National Geographic and Hotstar.

As the name goes, the show will see Ramsay treading the road less travelled – from Peru, Laos and Morocco to Hawaii, Alaska and New Zealand which will keep him on his toes as he explores valleys, oceans, forests and mountains while tasting culinary brilliance.

But even before "Uncharted" aired, many compared the upcoming show's format with that of late chef-travel documentarian Anthony Bourdain's.

It was during his 2010 UK series for Channel 4, "Gordon's Great Escapes," that he came to India and Southeast Asia to taste both food and adventure.

"Back in 2004 I started my journey from visiting Cambodia, the most amazing Southeastern Asian islands, Vietnam, and then spending three months in India from north to south, and a week in an ashram in Kerala, and understanding how to perfect vegetarian cuisine."

"It's me doing what I do best, an adventure with food, understanding cultures, and from becoming an amazing prolific chef, to becoming a teacher, to becoming a pupil, stripped of everything I know, and putting myself into that area of their expertise, for me was a dream come true."

Sharing one of his takeaways from the show, Ramsay said "Uncharted" was about diving into unknown secrets without being touristy and "embedding myself in that community" and from a chef's point of view, it was about "getting close to the source."

(With inputs from PTI.)

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